In the world of pizza, I’m a huge fan of thin-slice Neapolitan, NY and New Haven style pies. Just the right mix of crust, sauce, cheese and toppings make for a fantastical dining experience. So I was both excited and curious to hear what the new Blaze Pizzas would be bringing to the Triangle. A small chain based out of Pasadena, California, Blaze does BYOP (Build Your Own Pizza) and delivers them to you after 180 seconds in the Blaze oven. Artisanal pizzas that quick? Sign me up. Thankfully a Yelp Elite event brought me to the first Blaze Pizza in NC, located at the Grace Park shopping center in Morrisville. It’s time to mangia!
Given how big this plaza is, you might have trouble finding Blaze Pizza. It’s located across from Gander Mountain if that helps. Inside Blaze, I’m greeted by the Yelp team (Lauryn and Kristine) and put on my California Culinary Academy apron for tonight’s event theme. The space at Blaze is large and open with a interesting mural on one side “Chart Your Own Course” and the order counter in back. Pretty minimalistic and basic, think modern pizzeria style! We’ve got carte blanche on the menu today and thankfully it’s small. 9 specialty pizzas, 6 or so salads and you can build your own pizza from scratch. I go with the Link In: sausage, onions and peppers with red sauce and mozzarella.
I’m intrigued by the custom build of my pizza. On the end there’s a young guy forming the pizza dough in a large red pie press. Out comes a round dough base with a lipped crust on a wooden pizza peel. It heads down the assembly line where they’ve got bins of colorful and fresh ingredients. A spin of red sauce, smattering of shredded cheese and then the toppings. I ask the Blaze pizza experts to bling my personal pie out with some fresh basil, yum!
After assembly is complete it heads on over to the pizzaiolo and the short wait begins after I grab an unsweetened tea. At our table is the requisite shakers of red pepper flakes, oregano and more parmesan cheese. And even with the very busy line of hungry Yelpers, it only takes 15 minutes or so to get my pie. I imagine that most times, service would be much quicker at Blaze.
And it’s a great looking pie nicely melted cheese with a good balance of sauce and nice hunks of sausage. Just enough toppings without being over-done. I lift up the crust and there’s a bit of char on the bottom, just the way I like it. The pizza at blaze is definitely thin-crust and probably a cross of Neapolitan and NY. While they don’t use fresh muzz on this pie, the topping and sauce density is more bare-bones, similar to a Neapolitan. I take a bite and the slice is excellent, some toothsome crust with a good mix of basic ingredients (sauce, cheese, toppings). Taking a look at the other pies around me, they seem to be doing an excellent and consistent job putting out pies even with this heavy crowd.
I finish up the meal with half a smores pie which I should have requested heated up but my bad! Empty pie plates are picked up quickly and we are asked about our meal, nice job there. So what can I say but I’m pretty impressed with Blaze Pizza. While it may not be DiFara’s in Brooklyn or Pepe’s in CT, it’s an excellent version of thin-crust pizza that suits my fancy and is a reasonable price ($8/pie). For a quick-casual chain restaurant, they are doing a solid artisanal pizza that mimics some of the best pizza in the country. So if you’re a pizzaholic like I am, check ’em out. With aggressive plans for additional locations in the Triangle, you’ll likely not have to travel far to get your Blaze pizza on.
1024 Market Center Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560